21 June 2017

Sam Hanks (SOCSI)

“Critically exploring the governance of massage parlours in Cardiff: promoting sex worker safety and wellbeing”.

Simon Avery (SOCSI)

“The governmentality of local organised crime assessments”


17 May 2017

Dr. David Mellor (University of South Wales)

“Should robots commit crimes?”

The increasing integration of robots and automata throughout society will bring a range of social and public policy challenges. This talk looked specifically at how these might relate to security, crime and justice by asking: should robots commit crimes? This depends on what a robot is, how we understand the nature and possibility of action, and whether nonhuman actors will re-shape ideas about personhood that underpin modern society. These are complex philosophical and science fictional questions that we are being pressed into facing through the rapid emergence of new technologies. Building on some examples of and developments in current technology, I will discuss the scene of speculation and debate that surrounds robots, opening up some potential criminological implications. I will consider the interplay of social imaginaries, policy challenges and the development of regulations, and the design ethics for maintaining a safe and secure, technologically saturated society.


23 March 2017 Swansea University

Chair: Debbie Jones

Professor Phil Scraton  (School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast)

“Hillsborough: Resisting Injustice, Recovering Truth”

15 April 1989: an inescapable crush on the terraces at Hillsborough Stadium at an FA Cup Semi-Final led to the deaths of 96 men, women and children. Hundreds of Liverpool fans were injured, thousands traumatised. The families’ unrelenting campaign for truth recovery, spanning two decades, led to disclosure of all existing documents to an Independent Panel. Its definitive 2012 report revealed institutional mendacity, corrupted evidence and partial investigation. This brought an unreserved Government apology, an ongoing criminal investigation into all agencies involved and an unprecedented IPCC investigation into the policing of Hillsborough. It also led to new inquests, commencing March 2014 through to April 2016 and the momentous verdict that the 96 had been killed unlawfully.

Author of the highly acclaimed Hillsborough: The Truth (2016), Phil Scraton headed the Panel’s research and was primary author of its report. Having worked with the families and survivors since 1989, he was advisor to the families’ legal teams throughout the inquests. In this public lecture he reflects on the long-term campaign for truth, details the Panel’s extensive findings, analyses the new inquests, their outcome, the work of the IPCC and the case for prosecutions. Finally, he examines the impact of his critical research and truth recovery for challenging institutional injustice and holding State institutions to account.


22 Feb 2017  Cardiff University, Chair: Stuart Field        

Marco Calaresu (Sassari University),“Researching Urban Security Agendas in Europe”

 Mark Berry (SOCSI), “Modern technologies of an everyday drug dealer”


22 Feb 2017 Cardiff University, Chair: Fiona Brookman

Dr Anna Clancy (Research Manager, Invisible Walls Wales at HMP Parc & Researcher USW)

“Prisoner’s families and children: Can the walls be ‘invisible’?”

People sent to prison are cut off from close contact with their partners and children, with adverse consequences in terms of increased family breakups, obstacles to successful resettlement, and risks of the children going on to offend themselves.  This issue has often been neglected in penal policy, although recently it has attracted greater recognition and a number of new initiatives have been introduced.  One of the most ambitious of these is the ‘Invisible Walls Wales’ (IWW) project in HMP Parc, funded by the Big Lottery, and currently being evaluated by the speakers.  This is built around the facilitation of much more frequent face to face contact between prisoners and their children (often combined with interventions to improve fathering skills), support from ‘family intervention mentors’, the transformation of visiting arrangements, liaison with schools, and ‘through the gate’ work by workers from G4S and Barnardo’s.  The talk will explore the challenges of maintaining family relationships during and after imprisonment and present preliminary results from the study


25/01/17 (Wed) University of South Wales, Chair: Fiona Brookman

Marian Buhociu  (University of South Wales)

“’I quit heroin for meow’: A qualitative study of the use of New Psychoactive Substances among problematic drug users in South Wales”

Until a few years ago it seemed that new psychoactive substances (NPS) had appealed mainly to young, recreational drug users. However, since the second half of 2012, anecdotal reports from South Wales drug agencies and research from elsewhere in Europe indicated that NPS started to make their way into the drug repertoires of more seasoned users of heroin, ‘crack’ cocaine and amphetamine, who are widely described as ‘problematic drug users’. This presentation considered the circumstances and reasons why this hidden population decided to use the most popular of these substances, namely mephedrone.


7/12/16 Robert Jones (University of South Wales)

“Putting the ‘Wales’ into England and Wales”

The process of devolution in Wales has catalysed major political, cultural, social and institutional change. While these changes have been reflected within the research agendas of academics working within a number of disciplines, the study of criminal justice in Wales remains something of an exception. This paper aims to chart the effects that devolution has made to Wales’ role within the England and Wales justice system. The paper will focus upon the area of penal policy and offender management to help showcase the emergence of a distinct Welsh criminological space and to cement the fact that Wales is now an important unit of criminological analysis.


2/11/2016 Professor James Sheptycki  (York University, Toronto)

 “Intelligence-led Policing and Gun Crime in Toronto”.

The year 1991 was the first in Canadian history when more homicides were committed with handguns than rifles or shotguns (Sheptycki, 2009).  This marked a significant turning point in the history of urban street-crime in Canada.  Prior to this time, handgun use was rare in the context of all types of street crime in Canadian cities – from robbery and extortion to participation in illicit markets.  This paper examined the technological responses of the police in Canada to increasing gun-crime on the street.  It looks at the application of ‘intelligence-led policing’ (Maguire, 2000) to a specific type of crime, one which is socially highly charged in symbolic and political terms.


19/10/2016 Dr. Nic Groombridge (St Mary’s University, London)

“Sports Criminology”

A number of sports banned Russian teams from the Olympics. The bans were the result of an independent enquiry which showed State sponsored doping of athletes. The decisions to ban were appealed to the Court for Arbitration in Sport. Accusations have been made that bribery helped secure the Olympics of 2020 in Tokyo. These might be dismissed as ‘sport’, recognised as involving International Relations/politics or even seen to be big business and spectacle but they also involve crime as well as breaches of the rules of sport that are crime-like. Further all these actions are policed, prosecuted and judged by officials. All these crime and justice-like activities increasingly overlap with national and international law and justice. Criminology has only tentatively engaged with these issues around corruption and the possibility that sport may prevent crime or aid rehabilitation. This talk sums up where criminology is and where it might go in taking sport seriously.


Thursday 10/03/16 Cardiff University

Chair: Fiona Brookman

Professor Heith Copes

(University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA)

“Using Images to Reflect the Social World of Meth Users”

Research photograph
“Photo by Jared Ragland”

“Photo by Jared Ragland”

‘People develop personal identities by telling stories about themselves and others. By telling stories, people can associate with desired groups and create social boundaries separating themselves from those they find less desirable. While all people engage in boundary work, it is especially important for members of stigmatized groups (e.g., drug users). My aim here is to examine how drug users draw on cultural narratives of addicts as junkies and meth heads to create personal identities based on types of users. To do so, I rely on ethnographic fieldwork with active methamphetamine users in the rural Alabama, USA. This work combines observations, semi-structured interviews and visual methodologies to determine how they make distinctions between functional and dysfunctional meth users (i.e., “meth heads”). By using photos to elicit responses and to reflect boundaries I seek to show the complexity of meth users’ identities and illustrate how anti-drug campaigns that provide grotesque caricatures of drug users may prolong drug using careers’.


“The Working Lives of Judges in the Criminal Courts”

Wednesday 3 Feb 2016 at Bangor University

Chair: Stefan Machura / Robin Mann

Speaker: Professor Penny Darbyshire (Kingston Law School, Kingston-upon-Thames)

The presentation was based on research work-shadowing every type of judge at every level of the courts over a period of ten years, throughout the six circuits of Wales and England.  The aim was to find out what judges did and what they were like. Research was reported in the book “Sitting in Judgment – the working lives of judges (Hart 2011).


Professor Sandra Walklate (Eleanor Rathbone – Chair of Sociology)

“Clare’s Law: A Case of Therapeutic Justice?”

Chair: Fiona Brookman

This event took place at Cardiff University (28/1/2016).

At the time of writing there is a Royal Commission on Family Violence underway in the state of Victoria, Australia. On the back of that commission both the New South Wales and Queensland have set in train consultation procedures concerning the possible introduction of a ‘Clare’s Law’.  This presentation examined the origins and efficacy of the introduction of such a law (more formally known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme) both here and elsewhere. It considered the evidential basis for this initiative, whose voices are listened to, and why, within the context of burgeoning debates around therapeutic justice.


Dr Janna Verbruggen (Cardiff University)

“Integrating the longitudinal study of intimate partner violence perpetration within life course criminology”

Almost 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience intimate partner violence IPV at some point in their lives, whilst it is estimated that £4 billion of public money is spent on responding to IPV annually.  There is clearly a pressing need to better understand IPV perpetration and inform an evidence-based system of prevention and intervention. To date, IPV has been ignored in the development of life course criminological theory.  Incorporating IPV perpetration in developmental models of criminal behaviour will enhance our understanding of the development of offending and the pathways out of crime. This presentation focuses on the first step of a larger research project by presenting a review of the literature on the development of and the process of desistance from IPV. The next step will be to employ secondary data analysis of longitudinal datasets from the UK, the USA and the Netherlands to investigate the development of and factors that promote desistance from IPV.

This event took place on 15 October 2015 at the University of South Wales. The Chair was Fiona Brookman and the talk was from Sophie Pike on:
“An exploration of the changes to the investigation of homicide in England and Wales from the 1980s to the present day”

Change has occurred in almost every facet of homicide investigation from scientific and technological advances, increased legislation and regulation, to the nature of the detective role and culture.  The question remains of what has been the impact of change?  Through interviews with former and serving homicide detectives, observations of investigations and examination of past and present case files, the aim of this PhD research is to explore how developments in the investigation of homicide have shaped modern day inquiries.  Focussing upon scientific and technological change, this presentation provided an insight into the preliminary findings.  The data reveal concerns around the management of the information that such evidence generates, difficulties in keeping up with continually evolving techniques and others.  Changes in this regard have undoubtedly been beneficial.  However, the findings suggest that that such advances have provided today’s investigators with new challenges to be negotiated.

2015 – Paolo Campana gave a presentation to the BSC Wales branch and for anyone who could not attend they might want to read the newly published paper:

Campana, P. (2015). “The Structure of Human Trafficking: Lifting the Bonnet on a Nigerian Transnational Network”, British Journal of Criminology, online first, doi:10.1093/bjc/azv027  https://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/06/09/bjc.azv027.1